Swing Dunk Early Access Gameplay Impressions

Swing Dunk Early Access Gameplay Impressions

Swing Dunk is a fun and free-to-play sports game that has just entered Early Access. I’d say that it’s basketball meets Back to the Future, at least the part where everyone is riding an hoverboard – yeah, there are no time travel shenanigans and meeting yourself in other timelines here, just some good old sports fun. We were invited to give it a go and it’s a lot of fun, the kind of fun that will increase according to your skill level. You can download and play Swing Dunk right now using the link in the video description and get to practice those shots before the official release. Watch our Swing Dunk Early Access gameplay impressions below.


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The first thing that I have to say is that Swing Dunk isn’t for those who give up easily. The tutorial does a good job of explaining the basics and you’ll quickly learn that this isn’t a simple matter of getting the ball and making a run for it. Timing and coordination play a big role in this game, and you must master these details if you don’t want to be crushed by the opposition. Dribbling, releasing the ball at the right time and angle or blocking are just a few of the things that the best players will constantly use, not to mention a clever use of boost.

The ideal match is played in 3v3 full court, but you can play it mano a mano in half-court and 4v4 matches as well. You get to start with a regular character, but there’s this host of customization options that is both cosmetic and functional, improving the looks and abilities of your avatar in different ways. Slowly but surely, you’re going to unlock more items and even get to pick from new characters and hoverboards as you climb the ranks.

Due to the realistic physics in Swing Dunk, passing and most of all shooting is a matter of making the most of the momentum. There’s no auto-aim here, it’s up to you to perfectly judge your jumps and dribbles in order to get the ball right where you want to. You may take a random shot and score, but that will be one in a million. You can even reproduce some moves from real basketball such as layup, dunk, fade away, and alley-oop when you master the controls.

Scoring your first dunk is a moment to remember. I know that it was for me, it took me a few matches to finally find the space and opportunity to make a double jump and slam dunk in style. You get this sense of accomplishment that was previously shredded to bits when the game called you a freeloader, as you only won a few matches because of your teammates’ ability. Wipe those tears away and learn more about the various types of shots, as there is more than a handful different ways of scoring here.

Swing Dunk Early Access Gameplay Impressions

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I must admit that Swing Dunk felt a bit on the slow side when I first started. I had to adjust to the pace, as you don’t just zip across the stadium as one would expect at first. Clearly this is meant to make you focus on the tactical and teamwork aspects of the game, forcing you to pick roles and strategies to compensate for your innate lack of ability to cover the whole field.

One example of tricky tactical decisions is while using the boost, which is represented by that fidget spinner in the bottom right corner. You can fill up to three boosts, but the meter doesn’t fill when you are in possession of the ball. Making a run for the basket is a lot more complicated this way, but you can push the ball ahead of you and get that short span to gain some speed.

The better players will pull all the surprising moves, such as stopping a successful shot by blocking it from under the hoop. Jumping and grabbing the ball at just the right moment, then throwing it away from the hoop is a move that you won’t see very often, but I’ve witnessed a couple of top players doing it, and I couldn’t help but look in awe.

I guess it’s fair to compare Swing Dunk to Rocket League, as both games feature these mistakenly simple mechanics that ultimately provide a lot of depth and potential for unexpected plays. The more I played Swing Dunk, the more I felt better at it, and I also learned by watching my teammates and rivals doing their thing. The expertise is going to come naturally by playing quick matches, and what initially felt like impossible combos will soon be second nature, as long as you persevere. In my book, that’s solid core design, and I’m glad that I returned to the tutorial a couple of times to train my shots and improve on my overall gameplay.

So, that’s my take on Swing Dunk, currently in Early Access, which means that there’s still room for improvement. There are many features planned for the full launch, including new game modes and enhanced graphics. For now, this is a challenging but rewarding sports game that doesn’t take you by the hand.

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